HOLLIS — Democrat David Durrell is attempting to unseat incumbent Don Marean to represent House District 16, which includes Hollis, the southern end of Buxton and a small section of Saco.
“I have always been interested in politics. I think the way to make a positive influence and affect on a community is through service,” said Durell, a small business owner who describes himself as a fiscal conservative and a social-to-moderate liberal.
Marean, a Republican with a decade of State House experience, is looking to continue the work he has done over his tenure. During the most recent legislative session, Marean served on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, Joint Select Committee on Joint Rules and was the ranking minority member on the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation.
Marean is traditionally funding his campaign and as of Sept. 24 had spent $2,453 of the $17,768 he has raised, the majority of which was a transfer from a previous campaign. Durrell, a Maine Clean Elections candidate, has raised $9,599 and spent close to $7,200.
Marean said if returned to Augusta he would like to focus on continuing to strengthen and fine-tune medical marijuana and adult-use marijuana laws, lowering the cost of electricity and providing wider broadband access across the state. Like in previous terms, Marean would also like to find ways to lower taxes while also providing a better education for students, he said.
In addition to small business development and transportation, education is an issue Durrell would like to focus on if elected. Education is not getting funded to the extent it should be, he said. Bonny Eagle, the school district for the majority of students in House District 16, does a pretty good job of reining in costs to make up for the lack of state aid, he said.
“Education is a big issue and the state should be paying attention to the mandate given by voters for the state to fund more for local education. I understand that 55 percent is a difficult goal, but I think the state should be trying more to get to that,” Durrell said.
In an effort to help keep the youth in the state, Durrell said he would like to explore an incentive program to stay in Maine for college and find ways to expand vocational programming and opportunities to help find the next generation of skilled workers and tradesmen.
“Different kids have different aptitudes and different things that are interested in. I see this larger than just the schools. I see a need for community awareness. People are getting more aware, but it is not where it should be,” he said.
Marean said he supports Bonny Eagle’s push for proficiency-based diplomas, but would like to see more vocational offerings offered in local schools
“I think it is so important to prepare kids for after high school because they are not all going to college,” he said.
Both Durrell and Marean feel additional attention to the use of opioid and opiates and treatment for users are needed.
“It needs to be approached by law enforcement to deal with the dealers and the suppliers of drugs, but also the state hasn’t done enough to abdicate treatment of people addicted. I don’t see enough resources to community programs or programs in school about how dangerous the drugs are,” Durrell said.
Marean said opioid use, treatment and enforcement are sensitive issues in this state. The Legislature put some measures in place, but more is needed.
” The cost is a huge burden on everyone, including the state and the agencies who (provide treatment). We need to do what we need to do to help those folks who are hooked on these drugs. I don’t think we have all the resources we need,” Marean said.
Both candidates favor Medicaid expansion. The only “holdup” Marean has with it is how to fund it.
“People voted for it, so as far as I am concerned, we should implement it and would favor that as long as we have a way to fund it on an ongoing basis, not just a one time gimmick,” Marean said.
Durrell said expansion of Medicaid should be done immediately. The expansion of Medicaid could help rural hospitals and provide treatment and services for those with drug and opiate use disorders.
The two candidates are sticking to party lines in terms of the governor’s race. Durrell is will be casting a vote for Democrat Janet Mills.
Marean said he is supporting Republican Shawn Moody in the governor’s race, but won’t speak ill of any of the candidates in the race.
“Who ever is elected I am going to have to work with and will work with if elected,” Marean said.
Michael Kelley can be reached at 781-3661 x 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mkelleynews.
Residence: 218 Clarks Mill Road, Hollis
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: owner, Saco Bay Millwork
Education: Bachelor’s degree in international affairs/history, University of Maine
Political/civic experience: Hollis Democratic committee caucus Chairman, former board member and president of Salmon Falls Member Association, former assistant Scoutmaster Troop 310 in Saco
Age: Not disclosed
Residence: 233 Bonny Eagle Road, Hollis
Party affiliation: Republican
Family: Married, three children, three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren
Occupation: Retired businessman
Education: Standish High School
Political/civic experience: Five two-year terms in Legislature, former selectman in Hollis